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Google-backed Glance buys Shop101 to expand into live e-commerce

Glance buys Shop101
Glance buys Shop101 (Glance)

Glance is trying to replicate the success that China’s ByteDance Ltd. and Kuaishou Technology have had with influencer-led online commerce in their home market.

Indian mobile content provider Glance InMobi Pte agreed to acquire e-commerce startup Shop101 to expand into influencer-led shopping in the South Asian country. Glance, which became a unicorn in December after backing from Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital, pushes curated news and entertainment content onto phone lock screens and also runs a short video app. It now plans to bring its content creators to work in tandem with Shop101’s commerce technology and supply chain infrastructure, the startup said on Monday. It didn’t disclose the deal’s value.

Glance is trying to replicate the success that China’s ByteDance Ltd. and Kuaishou Technology have had with influencer-led online commerce in their home market. While the Chinese giants use live webcasts with celebrities to sell billions of dollars in goods, the segment is yet to kick off in a meaningful way in India.

“The next frontier in online shopping in India will be very different from what Amazon and Walmart currently offer, particularly for those from India’s smaller cities and towns,” Glance Chief Operating Officer Piyush Shah said via videoconference. “Influencer-led live videos make shopping fun, interactive and authentic and cater to millennials who seek authentic experiences.”

Shop101’s team of 300 including its co-founders will join Glance. The smaller startup’s investors included Kalaari Capital and consumer giant Unilever Plc’s investment arm Unilever Ventures.Glance was founded in 2019 and has about 130 million daily active users. Its Roposo app offers short videos in a dozen Indian languages. Shop101, started in 2015, has a network of 10 million sellers and 10,000 suppliers who serve 2,000 towns across India. The acquisition is a part-cash and part-equity deal, Shah said.

After starting with India, Glance plans to take the new form of mobile commerce international by going live in Southeast Asia in the next few months, Shah said.

“The acquisition is a strategic move to help Glance go beyond advertising-based revenues and enter commerce,” Shah said.

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